Earlier this year, students in the Martha’s Table Collegiate Academy participated in the PenSoul creative writing workshop. The goal of the PenSoul workshop is to help students find their voice through writing and learn literary techniques such as rhyme, hyperbole and metaphors. Workshop facilitator, Debbie Julien says, “many students don’t enjoy writing the writing process due to a lack of confidence in their abilities.”

To help students overcome this challenge, Debbie, along with other Martha’s Table staff, worked with students one-to-one to write a song using ‘self-esteem’ as the main theme.  Debbie explains, “The students cherished their writing. They wanted everything to be in their own words, so it took some time to get their words out.” Through the creative process, Debbie saw the students’ confidence increase. At the end of the workshop, students were asked to present their songs to the group. Debbie says the she knew the students had grown by “Seeing them stand up and take the chance to trust us and their peers.”

Not only did the students learn to approach writing with increased confidence, but Debbie learned from the experience as well. She says “The workshop opened me up to a more intimate approach to writing with the students. I have to be open if I expect the students to be open. We are all learning.”